This is my fourth blog in a multi-part series. In my first blog, I introduced insights from Cisco’s Collaboration Work Practice Study and how people value collaboration in the work environment. In my second blog, I discussed the importance of building trust-based relationships and networks to make collaboration work for you. In my third blog, I share how you can turn human interactions into business results. In today’s blog, I discuss patterns of collaborative behaviors and how to leverage them to better support collaborators.
Collaboration can happen at anytime. Some would describe it as chaotic. But interestingly enough, through all the collaborative interactions we observed, we saw patterns in the “chaos” -- patterns that did not just exist in organizational silos, nor were they simply associated with a job role or personality type. Throughout the day, people play a variety of roles and experience different types and modes of collaboration. They go from online to offline, in a virtual meeting to meeting over coffee, have an ad-hoc chat in the break-room and attend a global Cisco TelePresence meeting.
If we pay close attention to the behavior patterns of collaboration we can learn how to better support collaborators and create a more seamless experience. This is where process, technology and the physical and virtual workplace can complement the human behaviors that occur during collaboration.
Accelerating Collaboration through Catalysts and Connectors
“Not everyone is comfortable with collaborating virtually. [A catalyst’s] outreach encourages participation and makes the experience rich and meaningful.” -- Study Participant
In our study, we found that certain types of people play an essential role in not only Read More »
Tags: Cisco collaboration, Cisco Collaboration Work Practice Study, Cisco TelePresence, collaboration, culture, cwps, Organizational Network Analysis, technology
How to encourage people to do what they say they’re going to do.
Trust is weaved into almost every aspect of our lives. I trusted that my car would get me to the airport this morning, that the pilots and crew would get me to Washington D.C., and that my cab driver would find my hotel. This all comes so naturally. So why does the role of trust in collaboration inside organizations remain such a mystery?
For more than 150 years, organizations have been organized in silos that breed internal competition for resources. The psychology of competing with your teammates for resources, in turn, encouraged an insidious way of working: passive-aggressive behaviors where humans work side-by-side but work subtly against each other even though they are employed by the same firm.
Trust anchors every successful collaborative team.
We researched at Cisco the most important factors in creating trust on collaboration teams, and the single most important factor is revealing: do people do what they say they are going to do?
As leaders, it is up to us to be overtly aggressive at vanquishing passive-aggressive behaviors and building real, human trust. We have no choice in our hyper-connected world where change is constant and work is increasingly global, mobile and virtual. As distance and time condense, it stresses out the calmest of us as we scramble to meet deadlines while working with people that likely we’ve never met.
So what’s the key to building team trust?
“Replace uncertainty with clarity. Articulate the team’s purpose and establish up front what you expect from each member.” The Collaboration Imperative
How to build a team charter
A team charter helps clarify a team’s purpose, role, shared goals and scope; a charter eliminates ambiguity of expectations. As leaders, we can make a team charter the focal point around which the team builds healthy collaboration habits.
It’s possible to move beyond your gut feel and hope trust develops on your team; it is possible to operationalize it. Trust is too important to, well, just trust that it’ll happen. To that end, we’ve found that a team charter is most effective when it is composed of five elements:
- Team purpose: describes specific challenges, opportunities or tasks the team will address (and also expectations).
- Team role: teams form for different reasons. Know why your team exists – is it to align a group around an initiative? Is it to execute a priority together? What are the different roles of individuals on the team? Read more about various team roles in Chapter 5 of “The Collaboration Imperative”.
- Shared goals: most collaborative teams have people from different backgrounds, functions and even companies. Make sure despite your differences, you’re all chasing the same goals. These goals allow you to create a specific definition of what success looks like and allow you to map your goals to performance management
- Scope: establish well-defined boundaries of what you hope to do. These “guardrails” allow you to say no to ‘scope creep’! This helps members determine their time commitment and helps the team as a whole stay on track.
- Establish ground rules. Put ground rules in place for team procedures and processes (including meeting logistics), how you use your time together, who makes final decisions, how to resolve conflict, and how respect and courtesy are paramount.
A team charter is a powerful means to enable trust-building on your collaboration teams. Keep in mind that a team charter should be paired with a common vocabulary. Sweat the details of your team’s vocabulary. Ask if everyone on the team has the same definitions in their heads for the vocabulary you are using to articulate the charter. Don’t let the definition of a word be the reason trust is derailed!
The management science is pretty clear here: teams that trust each other outperform teams that don’t. Are you outperforming?
Tags: collaboration, Organisational Culture, team charter, The Collaboration Imperative, trust
To help us understand what business executives think about ‘the cloud’ and the impact of cloud collaboration to their businesses, we asked Forbes Insights to conduct research. In response, Forbes surveyed over 500 senior executives from global companies with sales ranging from $250 million to over $20 billion, and interviewed 15 executives. The study examined the ways business executives increasingly look at cloud collaboration as a way to increase productivity, accelerate business results, and enhance innovation and collaboration across borders and functions. We weren’t surprised by the positive response to cloud, but some new and very interesting findings opened our eyes.
The survey results show Read More »
Tags: cloud, cloud collaboration, collaboration, Forbes Insights, research
This is my third blog in a multi-part series. In my first blog, I introduced insights from Cisco’s Collaboration Work Practice Study and how people value collaboration in the work environment. In my second blog, I discussed the importance of building trust-based relationships and networks to make collaboration work for you. In today’s blog, I share how you can turn these human interactions into business results.
Engage. We use the word engage every day. It’s rich with meaning and covers a wide spectrum of relationships. We are engaged with our families, colleagues, and customers; engaged with an idea, a process, or an initiative. And when engaged, people are passionate and committed.
At its core, collaboration is people interacting with people. In the global Cisco Collaboration Work Practice Study, employees told us that successful collaboration depends on encouraging natural human interaction, enabling participation and engagement, and fostering a collaborative culture.
“You really need to focus on the people aspect first. Get individuals to feel engaged and continue to be engaged. I think too many times we rely on the technology.” – Study Participant
In my previous blog, I discussed the importance of not losing sight of the “human element.” Taking the time to build relationships leads to trust, which is fundamental for collaboration. To turn human interactions between collaborators into concrete results, companies must Read More »
Tags: Cisco Collaboration Work Practice Study, Cisco TelePresence, collaboration, culture, cwps, daniel pink, instant messaging, technology
In my last blog, A Perfect Collaboration According To The “Esquire Guy”, I talked about the importance of who we collaborate with and how we collaborate with them. Collaboration is leveraging sources of expertise to help in a decision making process. In some cases, you’re going to be in need of expertise that will come from a knowledge base or identified people. In other cases, you’re going to be defined as the expert and your opinion will be counted on during the collaborative process. Either way, you’re going to need to persuade the people you’re collaborating with.
If you’re heading up or part of a collaborative effort and you require expertise, you’ll need to persuade those experts to give up some of their time and put forth effort to support you in your endeavors.
On the other hand, if you’ve been identified as somebody with expertise there’s a good chance others in the collaborative group will have differing opinions and you’ll need to persuade them toward the validity of your advice.
In this short video “Secrets From the Science of Persuasion” by Robert Cialdini and Steve Martin, six universal principles or shortcuts are discussed. Let’s take a look at these six principles and Read More »
Tags: authority, collaboration, consensus, consistency, liking, Morten Hansen, Robert Cialdini, scarcity, Steve Martin, The Science of Persuasion